Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Ethical Question: Donate the Baby Bottles?

baby bottle

How can donating something for reuse create an ethical question? I'll let anastasiav explain, from her posting on Ask Metafilter. She's trying to decide what to do with her son's old baby bottles.
Part of me wants to donate them (I even have unused nipples in packages) to a local shelter / food bank, but of course we all now know that clear polycarbonate bottles probably leach bisphenol-A into the milk. ... Can you help me make the most ethical choice?

Infant feeding bottles are expensive items, and I'm sure there are low income women in my community who could use these bottles if I donated them, but I'm having some ethical issues with the idea of donating an item that I am aware would probably leach bisphenol-A into the child's milk or formula. (I did continue to use these bottles with my own son, despite the fact that I was aware of the issue, but I knew I was making an educated choice and took measures to limit the exposure.) ...

On the other hand, I feel equally guilty about simply throwing away an item that could be useful to someone.

What would you do:
-- Donate the bottles
-- Throw them away
-- Some other option I'm not aware of?
I don't know that there's any easy answer to this one; the replies argued both sides of the issue.

[photo shows a BPA-free baby bottle]


SueBK said...

My initial thought is to use them to store paint, glue or other non-food liquids. You could also use them for travel size bottles of shampoo and conditioner. I never seem to have on handy small easy to use containers. Can't remember what I did with our baby bottles. But we didn't have many 'cause we had one of those strange kids that never had a bottle to go to bed and never had formula. Actually, I think we only ever had 2 or 3 bottles.

Jeri Dansky said...

SueBK, someone on Ask Metafilter said she used them for crayons - and thought of a number of other things they could be used for, too. She didn't mention liquids, though.

Thanks for commenting - I'm very interested in other people's reactions to this conundrum.

WisdomBuilders said...

My thought would be to tape a little 'warning note' on the bottle and donate it--than it becomes an educated decision to them just like it was for you. Let them chose.

Jeri Dansky said...

WisdomBuilders, that's a good idea - as long as you feel fairly confident the note will stay with the item. And depending where you live, you might want to get that note translated into other languages, too.

Anne-Marie said...

I'm sure organized Jeri already made her decision and got rid of her bottles, but if anyone still has them, SOME Babies-R-Us locations are offering full store credit for used BPA-containing bottles. Some are offering credit toward only BPA-free bottles or feeding items. Either way, a donation of a gift card or new BPA-free bottles would be welcomed anywhere!

Source: http://freebies4mom.blogspot.com/2008/05/bpa-free-bottle-update.html

Jeri Dansky said...

Anne-Marie, thank you for sharing that information!